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The AI-Powered Referral: Writing Standout
Recommendation Letters with ChatGPT

A picture showing a laptop, an icon of Artificial Intelligence, and a letter.
Hacking HR Team

Posted on May 22, 2024

Recommendation letters can be a headache: you want to showcase your employees' talents, but finding the right words can be challenging, and suddenly, you find yourself staring blankly at the screen. Nevertheless, it has gotten a whole lot easier with ChatGPT as your AI-powered writing assistant.

Why Recommendation Letters Matter (And How AI Can Help)

Recommendation letters are your employees' golden tickets. Whether they're aiming for a promotion, a new gig, or just need a good word put in, these letters open doors. But crafting the perfect letter takes time, and that's where ChatGPT comes in. It's like having a wordsmith on speed dial, helping you create polished, professional letters in a flash.

ChatGPT: Your Swiss Army Knife of Recommendation Letters

Think of ChatGPT as your versatile writing tool. It can:

  • Save you time: No more staring at a blank page. ChatGPT generates drafts in minutes.

  • Keep things consistent: Say goodbye to mismatched tones and formats.

  • Spark creativity: Need help with how to highlight a specific skill? ChatGPT can offer suggestions.

How to ChatGPT Your Way to Recommendation Letter

  1. Info Gathering: Gather all the details about your employee – their skills, achievements, and work.

  2. Prompt Crafting: Tell ChatGPT what you need. Be specific!

  3. Add Your Flair: ChatGPT gives you a starting point. Now, sprinkle in those personal anecdotes and details that make the letter shine.

  4. Give It a Polish: Proofread and tweak until it's perfect. Make sure it's error-free and reflects your company's voice.

Employee of the Year Recommendation Letter: Stand Out in a Crowd

  • Common Challenges: Often, writers struggle to convey the unique value of the employee in a way that resonates with award committees who read many similar letters.

  • How AI Helps: ChatGPT can generate distinctive phrasing and help brainstorm unique achievements that stand out in a sea of generalities.

  • Tips: Emphasize quantifiable achievements and the employee's influence on the team's morale and productivity. Use specific metrics or anecdotes where possible.

  • Prompt: "Generate a recommendation letter for [Employee Name], nominated for Employee of the Year, highlighting key achievements, contributions to the team, and impact on the company. Include a specific anecdote that showcases their exceptional qualities.”

Referral Letter for Employee: Striking the Right Tone

  • Common Challenges: Balancing a genuine recommendation with the need to sound professional and objective can be tricky.

  • How AI Helps: ChatGPT can maintain a professional tone while infusing warmth and sincerity based on your examples.

  • Tip: Focus on the employee's adaptability and skills relevant to the new role. Mention specific instances where the employee demonstrated these skills effectively.

  • Prompt: "Draft a referral letter for [Employee Name] applying for [Job Title] at [Company], emphasizing both their professional skills and personal traits that make them a suitable candidate, with examples of notable achievements."

Recommendation Letter for Promotion: Forecasting Future Success

  • Common Challenges: It's essential to justify not only the past achievements but also the potential for future contributions in a higher role.

  • How AI Helps: ChatGPT can help outline potential future scenarios where the employee's skills could be crucial, drawing on past achievements as a foundation.

  • Tip: Highlight leadership qualities and readiness for greater responsibilities. Include testimonials from colleagues or superiors when possible.

  • Prompt: "Compose a promotion recommendation letter for [Employee Name], detailing their past skills and accomplishments while also predicting their potential future contributions in a higher role. Include at least one scenario where their leadership could benefit the company."

Sample Letter of Recommendation for a Contractor: Ensuring Credibility

  • Common Challenges: Recommendations for contractors need to stress reliability and quality of work without the benefit of long-term company affiliation.

  • How AI Helps: ChatGPT can focus on the specificity of projects completed and skills demonstrated, providing a concise yet comprehensive overview.

  • Tip: Stress on-time delivery, ability to handle complex projects, and adaptability to different work environments.

  • Prompt: "Write a recommendation letter for [Contractor Name], focusing on their consistent technical excellence, reliability across multiple projects, and specific positive outcomes from their work. Highlight at least one project where their contribution was critical to success."

Real-World Examples: Your ChatGPT Cheat Sheet

Here's a sneak peek (with your personal touch, of course!):

Employee of the Year Recommendation Letter

Dear [Recipient Name],

I am delighted to nominate [Employee Name] for Employee of the Year. During their tenure at [Company Name], [Employee Name] has not only met but far exceeded our expectations in multiple areas, demonstrating outstanding leadership and innovation.

One of [Employee Name]'s notable achievements was leading the [specific project] that resulted in [specific outcome]. This project not only boosted our efficiency by [percentage] but also set a new benchmark for success in our industry. An exemplary incident that highlights [Employee Name]'s dedication occurred during [specific event], where they [describe what they did that was exceptional], showcasing their ability to think critically and act swiftly under pressure.

[Employee Name]'s contributions have been invaluable to our team, consistently inspiring and motivating their peers to strive for excellence. Their impact on our company culture and performance is profound and continues to drive our success.

I strongly support [Employee Name]'s nomination for this prestigious award, confident that their ongoing influence will foster further innovation and excellence at [Company Name].

Thank you for considering this nomination.


[Your Name]

[Your Position]

Referral Letter for Employee

Dear [Recipient Name],

I am pleased to refer to [Employee Name] for the position of [Job Title] at [Company]. [Employee Name] has consistently demonstrated a high level of professionalism and commitment in their role as [Current Job Title] at [Company Name].

A notable instance showcasing [Employee Name]'s capabilities occurred during [specific project or situation], where they [describe what they did]. Their innovative approach not only resolved the issue but also led to a [describe the impact, e.g., significant process improvement, cost-saving].

[Employee Name]'s interpersonal skills make them a joy to work with, fostering a collaborative and positive environment. Their ability to connect with colleagues and clients alike ensures productive relationships and successful outcomes.

I am confident that [Employee Name] will bring the same dedication and excellence to [Job Title] at [Company] as they have consistently demonstrated with us.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information.


[Your Name]

[Your Position]

Recommendation Letter for Promotion of Employee

Dear [Recipient Name],

I recommend [Employee Name] for the position of [New Job Title] at [Company Name]. Throughout their tenure as [Current Job Title], [Employee Name] has consistently displayed remarkable skill and dedication, driving critical projects to successful outcomes.

One of [Employee Name]'s standout achievements was [describe a significant project], which not only enhanced our operational efficiency but also led to an increase in [mention the result, e.g., customer satisfaction or revenue]. Looking ahead, I foresee [Employee Name]'s leadership playing a crucial role in [describe a future scenario, e.g., expanding our market presence or integrating new technologies].

[Employee Name]'s ability to mentor and inspire their colleagues has been instrumental in fostering a team-oriented environment that is primed for success. Their promotion to [New Job Title] would not only benefit their career but also significantly contribute to our company's continued growth and innovation.

I wholeheartedly support [Employee Name]'s promotion and am excited to see the further impact they will undoubtedly make at [Company Name].


[Your Name]

[Your Position]

Sample Letter of Recommendation for a Contractor

Dear [Recipient Name],

I am pleased to recommend [Contractor Name] for future projects and engagements. Throughout their collaboration with [Company Name], [Contractor Name] has consistently demonstrated technical expertise and a dependable work ethic.

A particularly noteworthy project was [describe a critical project], where [Contractor Name] played a pivotal role in [describe their role and the project's success]. Their innovative solutions and meticulous attention to detail resulted in [mention specific outcomes, e.g., enhanced system stability and reduced costs].

[Contractor Name]'s reliability and ability to deliver high-quality results under tight deadlines have made them an invaluable asset to our operations. Their technical skills, coupled with their professional demeanor, ensure that projects are executed efficiently and effectively. I have every confidence in [Contractor Name]'s abilities and recommend them without reservation for continued professional engagements.


[Your Name]

[Your Position]

A Word to the Wise: ChatGPT Tips and Tricks

  • Be Crystal Clear: The more details you provide in your prompt, the better ChatGPT can tailor the letter.

  • Experiment: Be bold and play around with different prompts to get the desired results.

  • Proofread Like Your Job Depends On It (Because It Kind Of Does): AI is excellent but not infallible. Double-check for any errors or inconsistencies.

Final Thoughts

AI isn't here to replace you; it's here to amplify your skills and free you up to focus on what matters: your people. So embrace the tools at your disposal, like ChatGPT. After all, your time is valuable, and your employees deserve the best recommendations you can give them.

Ready to Dive In?

Download our free guide packed with ChatGPT prompts and examples. Plus, subscribe to our "AI in HR" newsletter on LinkedIn to stay ahead of the curve. Let's revolutionize HR, one letter at a time.


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